A Short Introduction For Fellow Academics

A Short Introduction For Fellow Academics

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Hi there! You found your way to my personal presentation tailored for fellow academics. I try my best to keep this as short as possible but be warned: I do have a slight tendency to ramble a bit here and there and everywhere in between (from this tendency, the tagline of my blog, “My writings and book reviews about everything between earth and sky,” is derivated from). 😄

The basic info

To start with the simple basics, I have been occupying this chunk of rock and other elements flying through space for about 45 years of Earth time. I have a wife and three cats, and we live happily in an almost 100 years old house in the small coastal village of Siuntio, around 45 minutes from Helsinki. I guess I am a bit older than the average Ph.D. student, and in the following, I try to open up about why I decided to start this journey.

Professional background

To understand why a grown man like me wants to do a dissertation, it’s good to know that I have worked in different kinds of creative Marcom roles for the past 15+ years. First, more in TV & video advertising, and from there – step by step – diving deeper into advertising and Marcom in general. Besides this, there have also been short episodes in the gaming industry and various TV productions.

Some kind of turning point was in 2014 when I was hired into one of Finland’s biggest advertising agencies called SEK (there, I first was video creative and then head of the video studio/team lead). Since 2017 I have worked in a Finnish mid-sized creative agency called Sherpa, where I am currently a sales director. In this position, I am in charge of new business and consulting on a more strategic level – especially when setting up Marcom and branding projects.

My research focus

For all my life, I have mostly wondered why people (myself included) act the way they do. Also, psychology has always fascinated me. This interest in understanding the human mind explains at least partly why my research is focusing on interactive value formation (IVF) and especially value co-destruction (VCD). These concepts allow me to explore what happens between people and brands in businesses and maybe even why so. I am especially interested in the role of communication in VCD, where it still seems to be a lot of research possibilities.

I “fear” I am not that well-educated about the rules of academia… However, I think my hands-on expertise in Marcom, design, and branding may provide unique and valuable insights for academia, at least if this kind of “real-life” experience is seen as valuable. 😄 I am also very interested to learn more and cooperate in research where my expertise is seen as value-adding.

As I said, I work as a sales director in Helsinki, and this is how I also primarily plan to fund my Ph.D. studies, so it’s safe to say I am not likely to be seen on Campus in Jyväskylä too often. 😑 I think online platforms are a great way to interact with people, even globally, to co-create value. 😎

More about my professional past

In the past, I have been blessed to be able to try out and do a lot of different things. I initially desired to be a film director & artist, but life led me to the marketing and advertising businesses +15 years ago. 😊 Based on the previous, I know a lot about creative work and leading innovative Marcom operations. Although I consider myself quite a “full-stack” in creative Marcom, my strongest specialty is undoubtedly audio-visual storytelling and video productions for all platforms. This experience originates in the 90s when I started to do videos and music and also studied a bit of technical journalism… In the past, I have also taught people to make videos, tell stories, and do social selling. In my 20s, I even became a part-time teacher for a solid four years in a high school to fund my film studies.

As I said, I was initially supposed to be an artist, and my first degree from the early 00s was in communication, and I specialized in making videos (BA in Cinema). After accomplishing the degree, I spent years doing all sorts of TV ads and programs and B2B videos and animations in almost every role possible ranging from copywriter to executive producer and director. Because of this expertise, I also am in charge of Sherpa’s studio team and participating in client projects when heavy audio-visual expertise is required.

As a side note: I am also a part-time video music producer and have been composing royalty-free music for various clients. To listen to some of my work, check out the following examples (links open in a new window):

How I ended up in doctoral studies?

Regarding communication expertise, I got interested in it when I understood that all valuable (in terms of business) boils down to the interaction between people. Working with top communication consultants in SEK heavily helped the birth of this understanding. This insight has deepened as I have led client projects and accounts (like the city of Helsinki, for example), where projects often rely more on communication expertise than advertising.

Finally, all this led me to study master’s degree in communication management when I was around 40. Again one thing led to another. Finally, on August 2022, I found myself doing Ph.D. studies at JYU. 🥳

I could write a book or two about the stuff I have tested, tried, failed, and succeeded in. Instead, I have focused my extra cognitive efforts on my dissertation. I guess my superpower is my curious mind – the urge to ask why without getting tired of finding answers!

If there is anything you want to know more about, ask! And if you are interested in networking with me on LinkedIn, please feel free to connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jukkaniittymaa/.

Ps. Yes, I do like to use emojis. I think they are the best way to communicate subtle emotions – much like facial gestures – in texts. 🥰

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